Leverage Git Config & Autocomplete Git Commands

Git Logo

I’ve already discussed customizing your shell and command prompt. To me, it is equally important to leverage Git configuration and autocomplete Git commands. You should also check out how to show the current Git branch in your Bash prompt.

Git Config

There are a lot of cool things you can do to customize Git just the way you like it. Most of these ideas are personalized versions of the git config customizations found at the Git website.

To create succinct, efficient commands in Git, create aliases for both the shell and for Git. Add the following code snippet to your .profile or .bash_profile:

alias gst='git status'
alias gco='git checkout'
alias gci='git commit'
alias grb='git rebase'
alias gbr='git branch'
alias gpl='git pull'
alias gpu='git push'
alias gad='git add -A'
alias gmt='git mergetool'
alias bdf='git diff'
alias glg='git log --date-order --all --graph --format="%C(green)%h%Creset %C(yellow)%an%Creset %C(blue bold)%ar%Creset %C(red bold)%d%Creset%s"'
alias glg2='git log --date-order --all --graph --name-status --format="%C(green)%h%Creset %C(yellow)%an%Creset %C(blue bold)%ar%Creset %C(red bold)%d%Creset%s"'

Next add the following code to your ~/.gitconfig file:

[alias]
st = status
co = checkout
ci = commit
rb = rebase
br = branch
pl = pull
pu = push
ad = add
mt = mergetool
df = diff
lg = log --graph --name-status --oneline

Now reload your shell and you’re good to go. I’d also recommend you configure the following settings:

  • Color UI. Adds color to commands like git status so you can read the output more easily. It’s as simple as git config --global color.ui true.
  • Code Editor. I like to use vim, but Sublime would be a great alternative. git config --global core.editor vim.
  • Diff & Merge Tool. I downloaded the DiffMerge app for my MacBook Pro and the P4Merge for my Windows box. These tools allow me to compare code or resolve code conflicts when I run into them. This is worth the time it takes to set up before hand. Read how at Customizing Git – Git Configuration: External Merge and Diff Tools.

Below is what my .gitconfig file looks like now (Updated 2012-09-28):

[user]
        name = John Doe
        email = johndoe@doe.com
[alias]
        st = status
        co = checkout
        ci = commit
        rb = rebase
        br = branch
        pl = pull
        pu = push
        ad = add
        mt = mergetool
        lg = log --graph --name-status --oneline
[core]
        editor = vim
        #autocrlf = true
[color]
        ui = true
[merge]
        tool = kdiff3
        ff = true
[mergetool "kdiff3"]
        path = /usr/local/bin/kdiff3
        #path = C:/Program Files (x86)/KDiff3/kdiff3.exe

        guitool = kdiff3
[difftool]
        path = /usr/local/bin/kdiff3
        #path = C:/Program Files (x86)/KDiff3/kdiff3.exe

Autocomplete Git Commands

To add autocomplete for your Git commands, download the git-completion.bash file. The easiest way I know to do it is by using the following curl command in the shell:

curl https://github.com/git/git/raw/master/contrib/completion/git-completion.bash -OL

The -O options tells curl to output a local file with the same name as the remote file. Thus, the name of the file is extracted from the given URL.

The -L option allows curl to redirect if the appropriate location is indicated with a Location: header and a 3XX response code. curl will redo the request using the new location.

Once you get the the git-completion.bash file, find a place to store it permanently. I put mine with the rest of my shell scripts in ~/bin. Then add the following code snippet to your .profile or .bash_profile file:

source ~/git-completion.bash

Customize Your Shell & Command Prompt

As mentioned in a previous post, we received some new MacBooks and a Mac Mini at work. Since most of my team prefers using PCs, I was able to get my hands on one. I immediately noticed how different it was from the one I use at home, so I started customizing it right away. I found I had forgotten how to do a couple things and it took me longer than I would have liked to search the web, so I’ve decided to dedicate a short post on how to customize your shell and command prompt in Mac OS X.

If you use Linux or Windows (think cygwin or git bash) this may apply to you too. If you don’t use any sort of shell, well, then you might just want this for future reference.

Apps

Terminal is the default app that comes with Mac OS X. Another great app is iTerm 2 (Free). It adds a lot of functionality that some users find lacking in Terminal.

General Preferences

Some programs that run the shell allow you to set the window size and buffer (essentially scrolling inside the limitations of the window). This is really helpful to setup before hand since lines that are too long will word wrap if you don’t have a large window buffer. This will inevitably happen at some point and it’s really annoying when it does, so take steps to prevent it now.

If you find you navigate to a specific directory every time you open the shell, it may be a good idea to tell the app to navigate to that directory when you open the shell. In Terminal, this can be found at Preferences >> Settings >> Shell; in iTerm 2 this can be found at Preferences >> Profiles >> General. There are a lot of other cool features (like window groupings) that you should checkout.

Appearance

The next thing you’re going to want to do is customize your shell’s color. I like the traditional black background with white or light gray text and some colorful highlighting like green or even just a plain grey.

For my shell’s font, I like to use Monaco 10pt.  Smaller text let’s me see more on the screen since I usually only let my shell take up one half of the screen. I enable bold fonts and bright colors for bold fonts, but I disable anti-aliasing (smooth edges) because I like that raw hacker feel ;).

.profile, .bash_profile or .bashrc

Some of the most important customization takes place in the .profile file. Every time your shell loads, it will run the commands found in the “profiles.” There are a number profiles some system-wide (e.g. /etc/profile), others personal (e.g. .profile). The bash man page provides useful information about the differences under the “INVOCATION” section:

When bash is invoked as an interactive login shell, or as a non-
interactive shell with the --login option, it first reads and executes
commands from the file /etc/profile, if that file exists. After
reading that file, it looks for ~/.bash_profile, ~/.bash_login, and
~/.profile, in that order, and reads and executes commands from the
first one that exists and is readable. The --noprofile option may be
used when the shell is started to inhibit this behavior.

When a login shell exits, bash reads and executes commands from the
file ~/.bash_logout, if it exists.

When an interactive shell that is not a login shell is started, bash
reads and executes commands from /etc/bash.bashrc and ~/.bashrc, if
these files exist. This may be inhibited by using the --norc option.
The --rcfile file option will force bash to read and execute commands
from file instead of /etc/bash.bashrc and ~/.bashrc.

Then at the bottom of the man page:

FILES
       /bin/bash
              The bash executable
       /etc/profile
              The systemwide initialization file, executed for login shells
       /etc/bash.bashrc
              The systemwide per-interactive-shell startup file
       /etc/bash.bash.logout
              The systemwide login shell cleanup file, executed when a login shell exits
       ~/.bash_profile
              The personal initialization file, executed for login shells
       ~/.bashrc
              The individual per-interactive-shell startup file
       ~/.bash_logout
              The individual login shell cleanup file, executed when a login shell exits
       ~/.inputrc
              Individual readline initialization file

In essence, .bash_profile is read upon login and .bashrc is read for each new shell opened since you can have multiple shell sessions running at once without logging in again. In Mac OS X, the .bash_profile overrides the .profile. I’ve run into some problems with .profile in the past, so I’ve actually switched everything to .bash_profile.

The next four sections will discuss:

  • How to change prompt escapes (bash)
  • How to change prompt color (bash)
  • How to create your personal “bin”
  • How to create aliases

Change Prompt Escapes

First, I like to customize the prompte e. I can’t stand it when the prompt is white and blends in with the rest of the text in the shell. The appearance of the prompt is stored in the environment variable $PS1. Try typing echo $PS1 in your shell. The text you see is a string coded with the display setting for your shell’s prompt. It might look something like this:

\h:\W \u$

In this example, the \h represents the host computer, \W the working directory and \u the current user. All this information makes sense if you were to use the CLI a lot. “Back in the old days,” people would interface between various servers or computers over a network (esp. in business scenarios). When you’d change to a different server, you’d want to know the host computer you were accessing. Not all the computers had GUIs. Thus \h would let you know which computer you were on; whether you were on yours or another.

The \u is common for similar reasons. Sometimes you use the su command to substitute user and you’ll want to know which user you are acting as.

The \W should be self explanatory. You don’t want to have to type pwd or ls all the time to know where you are at in the file hierarchy.

In my prompt, I’ve gotten rid of the host symbol (I don’t switch hosts often and when I do, the other prompt is usually different enough that I can tell I’m on a different machine) and replaced it with the history number prompt escape (\!). This escape let’s you know which number in the command history you have just typed. That way if you see a previous command that you’d like to repeat a couple lines up you just type !<number>. To view your complete command history, type the command history. A simplified version of my prompt looks like this:

\! \u:\W$

Here’s a comprehensive list of prompt escapes to add to your prompt:

\a         # an ASCII bell character (07)
\d         # the date in "Weekday Month Date" format (e.g., "Tue May 26")
\D{format} # the format is passed to strftime(3) and the result
           # is inserted into the prompt string an empty format
           # results in a locale-specific time representation.
           # The braces are required
\e         # an ASCII escape character (033)
\h         # the hostname up to the first '.'
\H         # the hostname
\j         # the number of jobs currently managed by the shell
\l         # the basename of the shell's terminal device name
\n         # newline
\r         # carriage return
\s         # the name of the shell, the basename of $0 (the portion following
           #   the final slash)
\t         # the current time in 24-hour HH:MM:SS format
\T         # the current time in 12-hour HH:MM:SS format
\@         # the current time in 12-hour am/pm format
\A         # the current time in 24-hour HH:MM format
\u         # the username of the current user
\v         # the version of bash (e.g., 2.00)
\V         # the release of bash, version + patch level (e.g., 2.00.0)
\w         # the current working directory, with $HOME abbreviated with a tilde
\W         # the basename of the current working directory, with $HOME
           # abbreviated with a tilde
\!         # the history number of this command
\#         # the command number of this command
\$         # if the effective UID is 0, a #, otherwise a $
\nnn       # the character corresponding to the octal number nnn
\\         # a backslash
\[         # begin a sequence of non-printing characters, which could be used
           #   to embed a terminal control sequence into the prompt
\]         # end a sequence of non-printing characters

Change Prompt Color

To color code your prompt on a Mac, use the following template:

\[\033[COLOR_CODE_HERE\]PROMPT_ESCAPE_OR_TEXT_HERE\[\033[0m\]

Most Linux distributions use a little different format:

\e[COLOR_CODE PROMPT_ESCAPE\e[0m

The first portion before the desired prompt escape or text only begins painting the chosen color (e.g., \[\033[1;34m\]). To stop painting a color, you have to reset to another color or turn color off (e.g., \[\033[0m\]).

Here's a comprehensive list of color encoding:

# Regular Colors
\[\033[0;30m\] # Black
\[\033[0;31m\] # Red
\[\033[0;32m\] # Green
\[\033[0;33m\] # Yellow
\[\033[0;34m\] # Blue
\[\033[0;35m\] # Purple
\[\033[0;36m\] # Cyan
\[\033[0;37m\] # White

# High Intensty
\[\033[0;90m\] # Black
\[\033[0;91m\] # Red
\[\033[0;92m\] # Green
\[\033[0;93m\] # Yellow
\[\033[0;94m\] # Blue
\[\033[0;95m\] # Purple
\[\033[0;96m\] # Cyan
\[\033[0;97m\] # White

# Background
\[\033[40m\] # Black
\[\033[41m\] # Red
\[\033[42m\] # Green
\[\033[43m\] # Yellow
\[\033[44m\] # Blue
\[\033[45m\] # Purple
\[\033[46m\] # Cyan
\[\033[47m\] # White

# High Intensty backgrounds
\[\033[0;100m\] # Black
\[\033[0;101m\] # Red
\[\033[0;102m\] # Green
\[\033[0;103m\] # Yellow
\[\033[0;104m\] # Blue
\[\033[10;95m\] # Purple
\[\033[0;106m\] # Cyan
\[\033[0;107m\] # White

#Replace any leading leading 0; with 1; for bold colors
#Replace any leading 0; with 4; to underline

Once you've decided on the appropriate prompt add export PS1="<custom prompt>" to your .profile. For example, this is what the line in my .profile looks like:

export PS1="\[\033[1;34m\]\!\[\033[0m\] \[\033[1;35m\]\u\[\033[0m\]:\[\033[1;35m\]\W\[\033[0m\]$ "

Add Personal "bin" to the PATH Variable

Every now and again you may want to create your own custom commands, scripts or programs for the CLI. Instead of mixing these in with the rest of the OS's, just create your own personal "bin" folder and add it to your PATH variable so that you can run those commands from any folder in the shell.

export PATH=$PATH:/Users/Taylor/bin

Create & Use Aliases

Aliases are really nifty. They can save you a lot of extra effort for frequently used and/or lengthy commands. For example, I found that I liked to use ls -lhaG a lot more than just ls as follows:

alias ls='ls -lhaG'

Alias long commands that you'd forget or never want to type. I use Git to version my code. The git log command is very powerful and can include a lot of options. Instead of typing the various options every time, I use an alias called glg:

alias glg='git log --date-order --all --graph --format="%C(green)%h%Creset %C(yellow)%an%Creset %C(blue bold)%ar%Creset %C(red bold)%d%Creset%s"'

Conclusion

At the end of the day, this is what my .bash_profile looks like:

UPDATED 2014-04-02

##################
### MY ALIASES ###
##################

# git command autocompletion script
source ~/bin/git-completion.bash

# git commamands simplified
alias gst='git status'
alias gco='git checkout'
alias gci='git commit'
alias grb='git rebase'
alias gbr='git branch'
alias gad='git add -A'
alias gpl='git pull'
alias gpu='git push'
alias glg='git log --date-order --all --graph --format="%C(green)%h%Creset %C(yellow)%an%Creset %C(blue bold)%ar%Creset %C(red bold)%d%Creset%s"'
alias glg2='git log --date-order --all --graph --name-status --format="%C(green)%H%Creset %C(yellow)%an%Creset %C(blue bold)%ar%Creset %C(red bold)%d%Creset%s"'

# ls alias for color-mode
alias lh='ls -lhaG'

# lock computer
alias lock='/System/Library/CoreServices/"Menu Extras"/User.menu/Contents/Resources/CGSession -suspend'

# hibernation and sleep settings
alias hibernate='sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 25'
alias sleep='sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 0'
alias safesleep='sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 3'
alias smartsleep='sudo pmset -a hibernatemode 2'

# up 'n' folders
alias ..='cd ..'
alias ...='cd ../..'
alias ....='cd ../../..'
alias .....='cd ../../../..'

# simple ip
alias ip='ifconfig | grep "inet " | grep -v 127.0.0.1 | cut -d\ -f2'
# more details
alias ip1="ifconfig -a | perl -nle'/(\d+\.\d+\.\d+\.\d+)/ && print $1'"
# external ip
alias ip2="curl -s http://www.showmyip.com/simple/ | awk '{print $1}'"

# grep with color
alias grep='grep --color=auto'

# proxy tunnel
#alias proxy='ssh -D XXXX -p XXXX USER@DOMAIN'
# ssh home
#alias sshome='ssh -p XXXX USER@DOMAIN'

# processes
#alias ps='ps -ax'

# refresh shell
alias reload='source ~/.bash_profile'

###############################
### ENVIRONMENTAL VARIABLES ###
###############################

# Add homebrew sbin to PATH variable
export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/sbin

# Add personal bin to PATH variable
export PATH=$PATH:/Users/Taylor/bin    # May be redundant; check ~/.bash_profile, /etc/profile, /etc/paths, /etc/bashrc

# Show dirty state in prompt when in Git repos
export GIT_PS1_SHOWDIRTYSTATE=1

# Change prompt
PS1_OLD=${PS1}
export PS1='\[\033[1;34m\]\!\[\033[0m\] \[\033[1;35m\]\u\[\033[0m\]:\[\033[1;35m\]\W\[\033[0m\] \[\033[1;92m\]$(__git_ps1 "(%s)")\[\033[0m\]$ '

What have you done to customize your shell or change your command prompt?

Hide Desktop Icons on Mac

Ever wanted to hide your desktop icons briefly and easily on Mac OS X for a presentation, screencast or just to hide everyday clutter? Here’s a simple Bash script you can use.

#!/bin/bash

# checks visibility and stores value in a variable
isVisible="$(defaults read com.apple.finder CreateDesktop)"

# toggle desktop icon visibility based on variable
if [ "$isVisible" = 1 ]; then
	defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool false
else
	defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool true
fi

# force changes by restarting Finder
killall Finder

Paste that into a text editor and save it without a suffix/filetype as something like desktop. Then execute the following command while in the folder where you saved the script (preferably in your personal bin directory): chmod 755 desktop. You should be good to go as long as the directory you saved it in is mapped to your $PATH (If you aren’t sure what that means, read the 4th and 5th paragraphs of Clock In, Clock Out).

You can find some simple apps to do this if you are repelled by the Terminal or love extra menubar buttons; just search Google. Some of them cost money (CamouFlage – $1.99), though I don’t know who would pay for something so simple. There are some other free alternatives.

Bash, Ruby & Time Calculations

As a follow up to Clock In, Clock Out, I thought I would discuss the methods I used for calculating the amount of hours worked in my clock script, since working with time mathematically is always a bit tricky.

First off, Bash shell scripts are really great for text and file manipulation (among other powerful aspects). However, once you start getting into more complex functionality like math and anything object-oriented, you really want to switch over to another language or environment. That’s why I called upon Ruby to do my “heavy lifting” as I put it.

So let’s jump into the first timestamp the script records. Pretty basic.

TIME_IN=`date "+%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S"`

The backticks (`) allow me to store the result of the date command in the variable TIME_IN. (Actually, the backticks are sorta deprecated. The new convention is to use $(<command>) instead. Bad habit I suppose.) I store it in a variable so that I can use it later on to print the timestamp to Terminal (below).

echo -e "\033[1;32mStatus - Clocked in\033[0m"
echo -e "\033[0;37m$TIME_IN\033[0m"

Those funky bits of code (i.e. \033[0;37m$TIME_IN\033[0m ) are used to adjust the text color when printed in Terminal. In this case, the first line is green and the second line gray.

Now when you clock out, clock grabs the last line in the timecard, stores the new timestamp and feeds both into the timediff.rb script as follows:

TIME_IN=`tail -n 1 $TIMECARD`
TIME_OUT="Out - `date "+%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S"`"
...
HOURS="     Session Length - `timediff.rb "$TIME_IN" "$TIME_OUT"`"

You might have noticed that the TIME_OUT variable not only includes the timestamp from date but also some extra text, specifically "Out - ". Later on, clock uses the TIME_OUT variable to print to the console. timediff.rb is robust enough that this extra text is parseable and disregarded in the time difference calculation. Let's take a look at what happens in timediff.rb

First I implement the required gems.

require 'rubygems'
require 'time'
require 'time_diff'

Next, timediff.rb uses the parse method to create a Time object with the appropriate date and time.

t1 = Time.parse(ARGV[0])
t2 = Time.parse(ARGV[1])

The ARGV parameter is an inherent array in Ruby that grabs arguments that are passed into the script when it is run, in this case $TIME_IN and $TIME_OUT from clock. Lastly, the script uses the diff method added to Time from the time_diff gem to find the difference between the two timestamps, which are subsequently sent back to clock with puts.

puts Time.diff(t1, t2, '%h:%m:%s')[:diff]

Since the output of diff() is actually a hash (see hashes in Ruby), the [:diff] call at the end of the line tells Ruby to only pass back the :diff portion of the hash with the timestamp formatted as ‘%h:%m:%s’.

Now let’s talk about timeadd.rb. In essence, clock grabs the hours for each recorded session and pumps each one into timeadd.rbas an argument.

TOTAL=`grep "Session Length -" $TIMECARD | cut -c23-30`
...
echo "Total Hours - `timeadd.rb $TOTAL | cut -d . -f 1`" >> $TIMECARD

First, timeadd.rb creates a base timestamp of the current day at 00:00:00 and a totalTimeInSecondsvariable. The rest of that portion is explained in the comments of the code below.

baseTime = Time.parse('00:00:00')
totalTimeInSeconds = 0.0

ARGV.each do|arg|

   # Parses the hours into a Time for today
   time = Time.parse(arg)

   # Calculates the time difference in seconds using the base time 00:00:00
   timeInSeconds = time - baseTime

   # Sums up the time in seconds
   totalTimeInSeconds += timeInSeconds

end

To calculate the total time worked for that period, I implemented a nice little gem called ChronicDuration. You can read more about it in a blog post by Everyday Rails. In short, ChronicDuration takes a time in seconds and converts it to a given format, which in this case is day:hours:minutes:seconds as indicated by :chrono. After that I pass it back to clock.

totalTime = ChronicDuration::output(totalTimeInSeconds, :format => :chrono)
puts "#{totalTime}"

Finally, clock does some final formatting on the timecard as explained in the previous post (download the files there too).

While Bash can handle basic math by converting time into seconds, I chose to take the Ruby route to learn some Ruby and keep the code in clock a bit more simple. Arguably, abstracting to external Ruby scripts is just as complex. However, it did simplify much of the work and I didn’t have to do a lot of tedious math and formatting in Bash.

Clock In, Clock Out

I’ve worked (and presently work) a number of jobs where I have to keep track of my own hours. As with any repetitive task, the answer is to automate. So tracking your hours isn’t hard or time consuming, but having your computer do it for you while learning a little scripting appeals to me more. Thus, I concocted a nice little bash shell script with a pinch of Ruby–for the heavy lifting.

The script/program is simple. It’s called clock. All you do is type clock into the Terminal (mac) and…WAHLA! You’re clocked in. When you want to clock out, type clock again and you’re clocked out. Each time you clock in or out, the program records a timestamp with the date and time. After each clock out, it records the number of hours worked during that session. When it’s time to submit your timecard so you can receive your paycheck, simply type clock -f to finalize your timecard. This will sum your session hours and rename the timecard with the start and end date so you know the period.

I’ve included a zip archive of the files (clock, timeadd.rb, timediff.rb) so if you find yourself in the same boat you can give the program a shot. I suggest you add them to your own “bin” folder in your home directory like I’ve done. If you aren’t familiar with this concept, let me give a short explanation.

Dedicating a directory in your home folder is convenient if you like to write various little programs/scripts. It allows you to…segregate these from the built in programs/scripts that come with your OS so they are easily accessible and you remember which ones are yours. To make these programs work just like the rest of the programs (e.g. ls, rm, less, pwd, etc.) add the directory to your $PATH as follows:

export PATH=$PATH:/Users/USERNAME/bin

Of course, be sure to replace USERNAME with the obvious. You can type this command into the CLI or you can just add it to your .profile file in your home directory. If you don’t have a .profile file, go ahead and create one. Every time you open Terminal (or another CLI), the .profile file is read and executed, thus you will never have to type in those commands again manually.

Two more things to make this work:

  1. Make sure to open clock in a text editor and change the path where the timecard-current.txt will be saved (in addition to any other paths).
  2. Make sure to install the appropriate gems for the Ruby scripts. Simply type the following into Terminal:
    gem install chronic_duration time_diff

If you have any thoughts, suggestions or questions, please comment. I value feedback.